Wilmington Evening Journal - October 6, 1980

Fans’ eyes turn west as playoff time nears


Baseball fans turned their eyes west today to see which team, the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Houston Astros, would make the trip east to face the Phillies in the National League playoffs.


As the Astros and Dodgers prepared for this afternoon's decisive western division contest in Los Angeles (Channels 6, 13 and 47, beginning at 4 p.m.), the Eastern Division champion Phillies returned last night to a warm reception at chilly Philadelphia International Airport.


Several thousand fans were on hand to greet the Phils, who clinched the title Saturday by beating the Montreal Expos.


And many more lined up at area ticket counters to buy seats for the playoffs, which begin tomorrow night at Veterans Stadium against either the Dodgers or the Astros.


By winning yesterday for the third straight day, the Dodgers tied the Astros with a 92-70 regular season record, forcing today's one-game playoff for the title.


Phillies Manager Dallas Green meanwhile disclosed that he may step down if the team wins the playoffs and the World Series, which will begin next week.


"I would prefer not to come back if we win the whole thing," said Green, who took over from Danny Ozark late last season when the Phillies missed the playoffs for the first time in four years. Green has said that his ambition is to move up into the higher ranks of the Phillies' front office.

Phils gear for playoffs


Note:  My source did not have the page with the first half of this article.  I have transcribed the portion available.


…in a hurry. There are more, higher hills to climb."


The fact that the Phils swept by Pittsburgh and Montreal after falling six games back with 55 to go on Aug. 10 was an impressive accomplishment. But, according to Green, another division championship means nothing if the Phils fail in the playoffs again.


Mike Schmidt, a cinch to win the National League's Most Valuable Player Award, probably summed it up best.


"There's as much heart here now as any team can possibly have," he said. "But if we don't win the playoffs, people will say we are the same old Phillies. And they'll be right. But there's a closeness on this team now. We're pulling for each other. Everyone is happy with the division title, but no one is really overjoyed about that. In the past, and everyone will tell you this, we have found a way to blow playoff games. We don't want that to happen again."


The Phils are privately rooting for Houston to win the West instead of Los Angeles. The Phils were 9-3 against the Astros this year and 4-2 in the Astrodome. Against the Dodgers, they were 6-6 this season, splitting six games in each ball park.


The Astros, of course, have never been in the playoffs.


The Phils made them for the first time in 1976, but lost to the Reds 6-3, 6-2 and 7-6. The final game in that series was a nightmare, with the Reds scoring three runs in the ninth to wipe out a 6-4 Philadelphia lead.


The following year, the Phils split with Los Angeles in Dodger Stadium and had the third game firmly in control 5-3 with two out in the ninth. The Dodgers rallied for three in the ninth and won 6-5. The following night, with a steady rain falling, Tommy John defeated Carlton 4-1 and it was over.


In 1978, the Dodgers took the first two, 9-5 and 4-0 before Carlton stopped them 9-4. But in the fourth game Garry Maddox dropped a fly ball in center and Los Angeles won 4-3 in 10 innings.


"Our record in post-season play has not been very impressive," said Green. "A best-of-five series is tough to begin with, but even more difficult when you are not mentally prepared. Bobby Wine was around for all those games. He says at no time were we as well-prepared as we are now. I really think what we have done this final month is going to carry over."

Phils close out regular season with (yawn) loss


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


MONTREAL - The durable Pete Rose was the only starter in the lineup in the Phillies' meaningless finale against Montreal yesterday that had to put ABC-TV viewers in Houston and Los Angeles asleep.


Jerry White's three-run homer with two out in the 10th off Warren Brusstar gave the Expos an 8-7 victory in 10 innings.


The setback ended the Phils' winning streak at six games and left them with an overall record of 91-71.


Rookie Ozzie Virgil's double, followed by a two-base throwing error on Bob Dernier's grounder snapped 5-5 fie in the top of the 10th. John Vukovich's single through the middle brought home Dernier with the seventh run. Brusstar got two quick outs before Chris Speier and Willie Montanez singled. White then came up and blasted his seventh homer, a drive to right field.


Rose, who played in 163 games in 1979, played in all 162 this year. Pete ended his second season with the Phils with a .282 average. He had 185 hits, and his 42 doubles led the league.


The 39-year-old Rose, who has 3,557 career hits, needs just 73 next year to tie Stan Musial (3,630) for the all-time National League mark.


"I wanted to play, even though it was for just a couple of innings," said Rose. "I wanted to get the average over .280 and also wanted to play in all 162 games.


All the others, including Mike Schmidt, hero of Saturday night's 6-4, 11-inning victory over the. Expos, relaxed during the cool afternoon at Olympic Stadium.


Schmidt, certain to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award, ended his most productive regular season by leading the league in home runs with 48 and runs batted in with 121.


Bake McBride, who might have been an MVP candidate on most other teams, finished with a .309 average and a career-high 87 runs batted in.


Green turned the managerial duties over to coach Billy DeMars yesterday, but sat in the dugout thinking about some serious decisions he must make before the National league playoffs open in Veterans Stadium tomorrow night against either Los Angeles or Houston at 8:15. Steve Carlton will pitch 1 the opener, with Dick Ruthven going in the second game on Wednesday, also at 8:15. Thursday is an open date, with the next three games – if all are needed – being played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


The World Series will open in the winning National League team's park on Oct. 14 at 8:15.


The major decision facing Green, aside from his starting line-up, revolves around rookie pitcher Marty Bystrom. Bystrom, whose 5-0 record and 1.50 earned run average kept the Phils in the thick of the chase the final month, might be declared eligible if Green can prove to National League President, Chub Feeney that another pitcher is hurt and should be disabled. The obvious person in question is Nino Espinosa.


"I would say it's a 60-40 chance they'll let us have Bystrom," said Player Personnel Director Paul Owens. "Chub Feeney said he will not make a decision until Monday."


As far as Green's lineup is concerned, he refused to reveal who will be starting until he finds out which pitcher the opposition will start.


Green did reveal that Garry Maddox was examined by a doctor in Philadelphia and that the center fielder's ailing little finger on his left hand is improving. Maddox has not started a game since Sept. 28.


Maddox, however, has played some defense the past week and pinch hit on Saturday night.

Fans spread red carpet for Phils


By David Hughes, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA - The crowd got there early, too early. The reception was brief, too brief.


Several thousand fans were gathered beyond a long wire fence near the overseas terminal of the Philadelphia International Airport last night at 8:30. They had come to. greet the Phillies, their Phillies, the 1980 National League Eastern Division champions.


The throng, which reached an estimated 5,000, finally did greet the team when ita charter plane from Montreal touched down two hours late.


The patient crowd had waited in the chill air all that time because mechanical prob-lems had caused a plan delay in Montreal. People passed the time listening to a barber shop quartet while burning Astros and Dodgers pennants.


Despite the ovation, the team obviously did not feel like hanging around. They were gone ten minutes after they arrived.


Dallas Green, introduced by Philadelphia Mayor Bill Green, made a short speech for the masses, however, as did home run king Mike Schmidt and relief pitcher Tug McGraw. The rest of the players and team personnel headed quickly for the busses waiting to escort them away. The fans, barred behind the ten-foot high fence, got no closer than 30 yards to any of the players.


When the plane landed, the cheering began to rise and finally reached a crescendo as the jet taxied into the terminal area. The Phillie Phanatic, urging on the fans, helped an airport employee direct the jet with a pair of fluorescent batons.


First out of the doorway was General Manager Paul Owens, followed by Green and Owner Ruly Carpenter.


After a delay of one or two minutes, the entourage of players, club personnel and media made its way to the podium near the screaming throng. Dallas Green, introduced by the mayor, was the first to speak.


"It's great to be back here as a winner," said the Phillies' manager, "and it's important that this baseball team goes on and keeps winning. We've proven to you that we can win, and we will. I promise you that."


Schmidt, whose dramatic 11th inning home run on Saturday gave the Phils their division-winning runs, moved to the microphone next.


"This has been the most exciting weekend of my career," remarked the Philadelphia third baseman, who was sporting a brown cowboy hat. "We're going to do our best to keep baseball here in Philadelphia for the next two weeks."


Reliever Tug McGraw, who had received the largest ovation of any player when the team filed down the airplane steps, was the third and final Phillie to speak. He was attired all in black – glowing leather jacket and slacks.


"I think we're ready to go all the way," McGraw yelled confidently to the multitude. "There's no way we're going to let it get away this time!"


As soon as McGraw was done speaking, the remaining players still outside headed for the busses, which two minutes later roared out of the airport vicinity. The team headed toward Philadelphia with a police car escort, and cars jubilantly honked their horns as the busses sped by.

Phils’ tickets – maybe


Sig Ettinger, manager of B&B Tickettown at Ninth and West streets, reports that people lined up before dawn this morning, all anxious to buy tickets to see the Phillies compete in the National League playoffs, which start tomorrow night if Veteran's Stadium. Their opponent was to be determined in a game today between Houston and Los Angeles.


By 7 a.m., the crowd had thinned out to about 10 people.


By about 7:15 Ettinger said he had only about 500 tickets still available, The store will be open until 7 tonight.